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Wed, Feb 28, 2024

Pivotal Delivers Quartet of BlackFly Aircraft to USAF

Testing Aims to Develop Doctrine, Assess Capabilities of Newfangled Aircraft

Pivotal has delivered 4 of 8 of its eVTOL BlackFly aircraft to the US Air Force for evaluation, kicking off a test regime to carve out doctrine for the next generation of lightweight aircraft.

The BlackFlys were accompanied by a pair of flight simulators leased to Modern Technology Solutions, Inc (MTSI), a prime support contractor for the AFWERX program. They appear to be the bunch spearheading the testing program, emblazoning previous BlackFly aircraft with combined Opener/MTSI branding.  The aircraft will be used in "assessing a host of benefits across diverse applications", putting them through a "range of remotely piloted missions." The testing campaign will be based at the New Braunfels National Airport, Texas, and from the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport, Ohio.

“AFWERX’s and MTSI’s decision to partner with Pivotal is a strong endorsement of our platform’s maturity and a milestone on our journey to mission relevance,” said Ken Karklin, CEO, Pivotal. "With over 12 years at the forefront of light eVTOL aircraft development, it is an honor to join forces with AFWERX and MTSI to demonstrate the utility and versatility of Pivotal’s patented eVTOL architecture."

“Over the next eight months, we will fly eight BlackFly eVTOL aircraft in different environments to test their mission effectiveness and suitability in military uses,” said Vance Drenkhahn, Executive Vice President, DSD, MTSI. “Pivotal’s amazing light eVTOL platform offers an opportunity to support AFWERX and solve real-world challenges.”

“AFWERX continues to look for ways to accelerate our understanding of eVTOL operations, maintenance, logistics and potential use cases," said Lt Col John Tekell, AFWERX Agility Prime branch chief. "1-2 person eVTOLs have potential for several missions including special operations, surveillance, and disaster and emergency response with local command and control at a much lower price point than traditional helicopters.”

FMI: www.opener.aero

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